Saturday, June 15, 2024

‘Won’t do it’: Reece Walsh lashes out amid eye-opening call from Queensland legend

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Reece Walsh has issued a plea to NRL fans to be more respectful while trying to get a photo with the Brisbane Broncos star. Walsh, who was knocked out in just the seventh minute of State of Origin I, isn’t shy about putting fans in their place if they step out of line.

And the Queensland fullback was clearly perturbed by something that happened in recent days, taking to social media to call on fans to be better. “If you’re over 10 years old and especially if you’re a grown adult and you don’t use your manners when asking for a photo, don’t be shook when you get a no,” Walsh wrote on Instagram.

“We are people at the end of the day, do (not) just expect these things!! I love getting photos and chatting to everyone but if you just put a phone in my face and demand a photo I won’t wanna do it!! Please and thank you goes a long way! Have a great day.”

Reece Walsh and daughter Leila.

Reece Walsh and daughter Leila after State of Origin I. Image: Getty

The issue is particularly prudent for Walsh considering he is often spotted carrying young daughter Leila around after games and mingling with fans with her in his arms. Walsh shared a sweet moment with Leila after Origin II in which she appeared to be checking to see if her dad was ok after he was knocked out by Joseph Suaalii.

Reece Walsh with daughter Leila and Broncos fans.Reece Walsh with daughter Leila and Broncos fans.

Reece Walsh with daughter Leila and fans after a Broncos game in 2023. Image: Getty

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Walsh won’t play again until State of Origin II at the earliest, but Queensland legend Wally Lewis has cautioned the 21-year-old not to come back before he is ready. Walsh has already suffered a fractured cheekbone and heavy concussion this season, and won’t be allowed to play this weekend due to the NRL’s mandatory 11-day stand-down period.

He will be available for Origin II in Melbourne on June 26, but Lewis reckons he should consider not playing if it might be detrimental to his long-term health. Lewis suffers a form of dementia related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a brain disorder caused by head knocks – and has been campaigning for more awareness and funding.

Reece Walsh, pictured here mingling with Broncos fans.Reece Walsh, pictured here mingling with Broncos fans.

Reece Walsh mingles with Broncos fans after a game. Image: Getty

“As a former player I know you don’t want to wait around, you want to come back the next week,” Lewis told the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend. “You don’t want to sit on the sideline or be considered a wimp if you don’t come back in a few weeks.

“But there are too many long-term dangers to put up with now. You need to accept the decision from doctors and medical staff. I’m sure Reece will want to get back as soon as possible. The doctors will be exercising their professional prowess and making sure there won’t be an early comeback. There’s too much to lose.”

Queensland coach Billy Slater revealed on Sunday that Walsh is doing well after the heavy hit that saw him lose consciousness for a brief period. “I spoke to Reece yesterday actually and he’s recovering well from this incident,” Slater said on the Sunday Footy Show. “To be fair, I don’t really like watching it too much. He’s in good spirits and he will go through the 11-day protocols and he won’t play again for the Broncos (before Origin II). The good thing is that he is doing OK.”

Walsh couldn’t play for the Broncos against the Sharks last weekend, while the Round 15 game against the Rabbitohs on Friday night also falls in the 11-day window. Because the Broncos have the bye in Round 16 Walsh won’t have much footy in his legs before Origin II.

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